Iván Silva won the grand prize at the 2023 iPhone Photography Awards.
Silva, from Mexico City, said he used YouTube tutorials to teach himself photography.
He says he prefers using a phone to a traditional camera as it is easy to travel with.
Iván Silva may be an award-winning photographer, but he says he’s not a professional.
Silva, 37, was announced as the Grand Prize Winner of the 16th annual iPhone Photography Awards earlier this month.
Silva, from Mexico City, beat thousands of entries from around the world with an image of his young nephew celebrating Argentina’s 2022 World Cup victory, according to a post on the iPhone Photography Awards’ Instagram account.
Speaking to Insider, Silva said the photo of his nephew standing on a truck was taken a couple of days after the World Cup in December 2022 while his family was vacationing in Arandas, Jalisco, in Mexico. Some of the family were collecting wood for a bonfire when Silva’s nephew, wearing a Messi jersey, stood on top of the truck in celebration, he said.
Silva says he started photography 5 years ago as a hobby
Speaking to Insider, Silva said he began taking photos as a “hobby” five years ago and is self-taught; he used YouTube tutorials and movies, and studied professional photographers to help hone his craft.
These days, Silva said he only has time to photograph on the weekends or while on vacation as he has a demanding job. He works within the judicial system in Mexico and also recently welcomed a newborn son, he said.
And while he initially used a traditional camera, Silva says he now mostly prefers his phone camera as it is more “comfortable” and “easy” to travel with.
“This is the first time I have participated in an international photography contest,” Silva said. He added that he previously applied to contests in Mexico but with “no results.”
“When I found out I was a winner by email, my wife was taking a bath while I was taking care of baby. I was so excited that I didn’t read the whole message. I shouted and told my wife I won — she was very scared and thought something happened to the baby,” Silva said.
“She said she’ll never forget that day because of the scare she had because of my screams,” he added.
Silva said he initially thought he had won the childhood category, and it took around an hour for him to realize he had won the grand prize.
In addition to the grand prize and the three runners-up, the competition also shortlists winners from numerous categories including abstract, animals, architecture, and children, as shown on the contest’s website. Most entries are amateurs since the contest is open to all iPhone users, a spokesperson for the iPhone Photography Awards told Insider.
Silva’s photo was chosen because it captures the inspiration, hope, and dreams of childhood, the spokesperson said.
“His hero, Lionel Messi, came from very difficult circumstances but became the best and so many kids resonate with this,” they added. “The hope he embodies is the biggest gift one human can give another.”
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